With the varied marijuana laws in many different states across the US, it can be complicated to keep track of what is allowed and where. Oregon was one of the first states in the US to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana and has become an example of what marijuana laws might look like.
Of course, Oregon marijuana laws are different, at least in some ways, from those in other states across the country. Although research seems to be continually proving that marijuana is a low-risk and relatively safe drug, less than half of the states in the US have decriminalized some (if not all) marijuana possession offenses, and even fewer have legalized recreational use.
Even though Oregon appears to be a front-runner for marijuana legalization when compared to the rest of the country, there are still laws surrounding possession and use. This post breaks down the different laws into comprehensive nuggets to help Oregon residents or visitors understand what they can and can’t get away with when it comes to cannabis.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Oregon
The legalization of medical marijuana in Oregon was passed in 1998 and came into effect in 1999 with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP). In its first year, the program served approximately 600 registered patients. By 2014, that number was over 60,000.
According to the OMMP, a patient is limited to the daily purchase from a dispensary of:
- 24 ounces of usable marijuana;
- 16 ounces of a medical cannabinoid product in solid form;
- 72 ounces of a medical cannabinoid product in liquid form;
- 16 ounces of a cannabinoid concentrate whether sold alone or contained in an inhalant delivery system;
- 5 grams of a cannabinoid extract whether sold alone or contained in an inhalant delivery system;
- 4 immature marijuana plants; AND
- 50 seeds.
Medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to possess up to six mature marijuana plants at one time. The plants must be grown at a registered grow site address.
Recreational Marijuana Laws in Oregon
Recreational marijuana was legalized in Oregon with a bill that passed in 2015. The first recreational dispensaries opened in 2016 under the watchful eye of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), and residents of the state have been chill and happy ever since. (There was a minor glitch in early 2017 when a new retail licensing law forced many existing dispensaries to stop recreational sales until an OLCC inspection could be arranged, but this was cleared up after a few months.)
Now that the recreational train is back on track, many residents and visitors are wondering just how much marijuana they’re allowed to possess, here’s a handy guide. According to the OLCC, persons over the age of 21 in public are limited to the daily possession of:
- 1 ounce of usable marijuana;
- 16 ounces of a cannabinoid product in solid form;
- 72 ounces of a cannabinoid product in liquid form;
- 5 grams of cannabinoid extracts or concentrates, whether sold alone or contained in an inhalant delivery system;
- 4 immature marijuana plants; AND
- 10 marijuana seeds.
According to What’s Legal Oregon, on private property, recreational users over the age of 21 may possess:
- 8 ounces of usable marijuana (dried leaves and flowers);
- 1-ounce cannabinoid extracts or concentrates (must be purchased from a licensed marijuana retailer);
- 16 ounces cannabinoid product in solid form;
- 72 ounces cannabinoid product in liquid form;
- 10 marijuana seeds; AND
- 4 marijuana plants.
While police in Oregon seem to be somewhat lax when it comes to enforcing possession laws, it’s important to keep in mind that breaking these laws could cost you a minimum of $650, with varying amounts of jail time depending on how much marijuana you have in your possession. (Want a more detailed breakdown of Oregon recreational marijuana laws and penalties? NORML and What’s Legal Oregon have got you covered.)
Remember: The Law is the Law
Whether you’re a medical or recreational user, Oregon marijuana laws prohibit smoking or vaporizing cannabis products in public places. It is also still illegal to sell marijuana or related paraphernalia without a license to do so. Add school grounds within 1000 feet, and you’re in major trouble.
The same goes for driving under the influence of marijuana. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence, and the legal ramifications are justifiable on par with those of driving while intoxicated.
Be smart, and be safe. We are just beginning to experience the wonders of recreational marijuana legalization. Let’s not do anything to turn progress on its head.
Finally, since state and federal laws are currently in conflict around this particular pastime, make sure you understand both sets of laws before purchasing, growing, or using marijuana products.
Now that you know what Oregon marijuana laws allow, take a look at how you can legally enjoy your cannabis products and have a fun (and law-abiding) experience!
Interested in making a difference in the way local, state, and federal lawmakers view and impact the cannabis industry? Take a look at the Oregon Cannabis Association and consider becoming a member.
Article By: Daphne Eccleston